With Americans looking more to road trips due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, Kristin Braswell wanted to create a new way for people to approach their routes when the pandemic turned the travel world upside down.
It didn’t take her long to find a path for her company, CrushGlobal, with which she had previously focused on international travel.
“[I was] trying to find a way to provide services to clients being mindful of safety protocols,” Braswell, who has contributed to USA TODAY, said, noting that when she saw RV travel and road trips trending, she had her answer.
And in taking her company on a new route, she decided to make the road trip more inclusive.
“I think there is a sort of romanticized idea of the great American road trip,” she says. “[We’re] making it more inclusive in a way that I feel like past American road trip marketing has not done.”
Braswell’s CrushGlobal Road Trip Guides aim to highlight primarily Black-owned and women-owned businesses for travelers to visit on jaunts in the Northeast, South and other parts of the country. The itineraries focus on a variety of themes with features including private cabana wine tastings, tours shining a light on lesser-known Black history in the South, bespoke cocktail classes and outdoor adventures among other experiences.
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She tapped into her background as a travel journalist and started reaching out to connections at different tourism boards to see what was open and what COVID safety precautions were being taken.
And then she sought to highlight diverse businesses in her guides, putting those businesses on the map – literally – for her clients.
“Another element important to me, particularly as a Black woman, was I wanted to support women-owned and Black-owned businesses,” Braswell says.
The guides,published last fall and updated monthly with the latest COVID-19 restrictions and other time-sensitive information, range in price from $30 to $60. They’redelivered to the buyer in a mobile-friendly PDF format.
Each guide has its own flavor and geographical track ranging from a 7-day, food and wine-focused route traversing Los Angeles, Santa Barbara, Oakland and Napa/Sonoma to a 4-day Georgia trek through Atlanta, Macon and Savannah focused on local stops and the coast. The trips highlight national parks, “the South’s greatest gems,” notable culinary experiences and more.
CrushGlobal also offers a customized option which lets clients tell Braswell and her team what kinds of activities they hope to engage in and where they’d like to go. The custom guides are based on on individual interest and budget.
If travelers are interested in a personalizedguide, CrushGlobal asks them to fill out a questionnaire with their ideal budget for daily spending and the kind of route they’re interested in. After they do,